Recent Advances in the Catalytic Depolymerization of Lignin towards Phenolic Chemicals: A Review

Xudong Liu, Florent P. Bouxin, Jiajun Fan, Vitaliy L. Budarin, Changwei Hu*, James H. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The efficient valorization of lignin could dictate the success of the 2nd generation biorefinery. Lignin, accounting for on average a third of the lignocellulosic biomass, is the most promising candidate for sustainable production of value-added phenolics. However, the structural alteration induced during lignin isolation is often depleting its potential for value-added chemicals. Recently, catalytic reductive depolymerization of lignin has appeared to be a promising and effective method for its valorization to obtain phenolic monomers. The present study systematically summarizes the far-reaching and state-of-the-art lignin valorization strategies during different stages, including conventional catalytic depolymerization of technical lignin, emerging reductive catalytic fractionation of protolignin, stabilization strategies to inhibit the undesired condensation reactions, and further catalytic upgrading of lignin-derived monomers. Finally, the potential challenges for the future researches on the efficient valorization of lignin and possible solutions are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Early online date3 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors.


  • Lignin
  • phenolic monomers
  • reductive catalytic fractionation
  • stabilization
  • valorization

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